Make the Ultimate Sales Call

Make the Ultimate Sales Call


It’s always good to have a plan for your sales visits that can serve as a quick reminder of the essentials. Use this checklist as a review before and after each sales call to make sure you cover all the bases. Leaving a sales call and wishing you had remembered to ask a specific question or show the prospect another product idea is a horrible feeling; using this checklist may help you avoid that. Edit it based on the type of sales cycle you’re involved in.

Sales call checklist

1. Preparation prior to sales call

Did I:

  • Research the account prior to the call?
  • Learn something about the person and their business before the meeting?
  • Send an outline of the agenda to the client before the meeting?
  • Prepare three value-added points?
  • Bring all materials, brochures, contracts, etc.?
  • Answer the three important pre-call questions:

A. What is the goal of the call?

B. What do I need to find out?

C. What’s the next step after the call?

2. Greeting and introduction

Did I:

  • Observe the prospect’s office décor?
  • Find out about the prospect’s personal interests, hobbies, family and so on?
  • Find out the names of contacts in the account and write them down?
  • Bridge to the business topic smoothly?
  • Listen more than I spoke? (Ideally, you should spend 80% of your time listening and only 20% talking.)
  • Ask the customer about business goals?
  • Ask the customer about challenges?

3. Qualifying

Did I:

  • Find out who the decision-makers are by asking ”Who else besides yourself is involved in decision-making?“
  • Ask what process they normally follow when considering a new vendor?
  • Find out how and why they made the decision for their current product or service (assuming they are replacing a product or service)?
  • Find out what their time frame is?
  • Find out if funds have been allocated – and how much?
  • Find out their specific needs?
  • Ask what they would change about their product or service?

4. Surveying

Did I:

  • Ask open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, why, how, how much, tell me about it, describe for me)?
  • Ask about the corporate structure?
  • Ask about the prospect’s role at the company?
  • Ask what’s interesting and important to them and focus on that?
  • Ask what risks they perceive?
  • Ask how we can help solve their problems?
  • Ask what they think about our company?
  • Ask what they like and dislike about their current vendor?
  • Ask how industry trends are affecting them?
  • Ask “what if?” questions?
  • Ask what suport they would like after the sale?
  • Ask what their short-term and long-term goals are?
  • Ask how I can become their most valued vendor?
  • Ask what is our next step?
  • Establish a follow-up schedule?
  • Parrot the prospect to encourage him to expand, elaborate and go into detail about each answer?

5. Handling objections

Did I:

  • Listen to the entire objection?
  • Pause for three seconds before responding?
  • Remain calm, not defensive?
  • Meet the objection with a question to find out more?
  • Restate the objection to make sure we agreed (communication)?
  • Answer the objection?
  • Complete these six-steps?

1. Listen

2. Define

3. Rephrase

4. Isolate

5. Present solution

6. Close (or next step)

6. Presentation

Did I:

  • Prioritise the prospect’s needs?
  • Talk about benefits?
  • Use layman’s terms?
  • Link the benefit to needs?
  • Verify each need before moving on?
  • Present myself, company and product in a positive light?
  • Re-establish rapport?
  • Ask if anything changed since our last meeting?
  • Pre-commit the prospect?
  • Give a general overview of the product or service?
  • Keep the presentation focused on needs?
  • Involve the customer in the presentation?
  • Summarise needs and how your offering meets them?

7. Closing

Did I:

  • Get the customer to identify all possible problems that might be solved by my product or service?
  • Get the customer to identify the value of solving the identified problems?
  • Get agreement that the proposed solution provides the values identified?
  • Ask for the order (“Why don’t we go ahead with this?”)?

8. Customer maintenance

Did I:

  • Write thank you letters for appointments and orders?
  • Earn the right to ask for references and referrals?
  • Establish a schedule for follow-up calls and visits?
  • Ask for referrals (“Do you know three people who could benefit from my product and service like you did?”)?
  • Send thank you notes to lost accounts?
  • Ask what are three important things we can do as a vendor to keep our relationship strong?

This checklist will help you stay focused. Every time you schedule a sales call, run through it to prepare and to see what you can do next time to increase your chances of success.

Barry Farber
Barry Farber is a top speaker and bestselling author of 11 books on sales, management and personal achievement.